Synology NAS: Video Station now works with Apple TV without using iTunes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by blueroom, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #1
    If you want to playback AppleTV 2/3 encoded videos and not be running iTunes then this may interest you.

    Synology's latest DS4.2 OS has a free Video Station package that allows the NAS directly to AirPlay Video (music too using their Audio Station package).

    You select a video for playback from any web browser, I believe Synology offers free iOS and Android apps that can also be used. Once running your ATV remote can control playback (pause, ff,rew, chapter, etc)

    Playback is flawless with my DVD & Blu-Ray Handbrake encodes; 1080p works fine plus I'll test DD5.1 this afternoon.

    edit: Strangely it seems to need the browser to stay open...
     
  2. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    #2
    I tested it briefly and found that mp4/m4v playback was quite nice, but it was incapable of playing mkv, which the majority of my video collection is in. That's probably a limitation of my specific model, however, which is the DS211j; it simply doesn't have enough CPU power to transcode on the fly, unfortunately.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    #3
    By the way, it occurred to me after I'd uninstalled Video Station that part of the video processing may be handed off to the system you've started the video in. I'm unsure if that's the case. Either way, it seems odd that it requires opening the video in a new tab/window and then directing the output to the ATV at that point; it seems like you should be able to just choose a "Send to ATV" option from within the Video Station application itself.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #4
    That's how I feel it should be, but strangely it isn't. Seems like something that would be fairly easy to build a work around or patch. The fact it works and can AirPlay a video from Linux without iTunes means it's possible on non DRM material. I would think that it would be something that could be initiated from the NAS command line.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    #5
    Thanks OP. What model Synology do you have?
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    iLondon/iDurban
    #6
    My apple tv 2 with XBMC plays any format file off my syno nas.

    I'll try this out tonight and see how it works, would be nice to not have to rely on a JB'd ATV with XBMC which crashes often enough
     
  7. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    #7
    Maybe it's just been my experience, but I found XBMC on ATV2 to be slow and buggy. I use it for Hulu, but nothing else. I'd love a single solution that I could watch Hulu, Netflix, and all my TV shows and movies from, but the ATV natively is too limited, and the XBMC version for it requires too much work to add modules to while not being particularly pleasurable to use.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #8
    I have a DS212j
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Location:
    iLondon/iDurban
    #9
    If someone could JB the ATV3 we might have a winner
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #10
    I'm super happy with plex running on my synology and plex constellation remote on my ipad.
     
  11. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    #11
    This isn't a useful post for people running a low-end Synology NAS that doesn't have the juice to transcode. :) Unless you're re-encoding everything to mp4/m4v using a computer, anyway.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #12
    I'm not aware of any of the current Synology NAS's ability to transcode to H.264 faster than real time. None of the CPUs appear to have H.264 compression hardware. Those ARM & Atom CPUs just aren't cut out for it.

    I'm re-encoding on my Mac, easy enough to batch convert via Handbrake. Also the H.264 files are much smaller that their original format.
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #13
    Awaiting delivery of a DS213+; starting to think about how I am going to set things up, you all seem to have a good thread going. In terms of iTunes music/video, I'm thinking (e.g. please correct my thinking)...

    1) ITunes Library on NAS; iMac iTunes Client connects to Library via AFP mapped drive. iMac used to manage iTunes Library, new music purchases automatically added to NAS, non-DRM Video (e.g. m4v encoded) manually copied to NAS and added to iTunes Library.

    2) Synology iTunes Server running on NAS; looking at same share/files that iMac ITunes client is using/managing...

    3) Client devices; mostly ATV3, misc. MacBooks. Connect to iTunes Server on NAS via exposed "iTunes Shared".

    4) iPad/iPhone devies continue to get synced using iMac iTunes client.

    Question: Can Synology iTunes Server stream non-DRM movies or do you have to use "Video Station" for that?
     
  14. Decker, May 17, 2013
    Last edited: May 17, 2013

    macrumors member

    Decker

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Ottawa, Canada
    #14
    FYI, I have the DS1512+ and it has no problem transcoding 1080p mkv in realtime and airplaying it on my atv3 using Video Station.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    #15
    I have a Synology 110j (very low end) and this works for me. I control video playback with an iPad but I am just wondering, does the stream actually go through the iPad? Or does the iPad basically tell my NAS to send the stream directly to the Apple TV? This is probably a silly question but I would like to understand how it works exactly.

    Thanks!
     
  16. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    #16
    If you're sharing over UPnP, then, direct connection is used, assuming you disable screen mirroring. That is, the stream does NOT go thru the iPad - it just passes a URL to the ATV. Then, the ATV directly accesses and plays the file off NAS.

    WIth SMB, this doesn't work.

    In neither case need you any kind of NAS-side reencoding, assuming you try to play back iOS-native (which also means ATV-compliance) files.

    BTW, I've explained all this at http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17287486&postcount=24 if you need more info.
     
  17. bbapps, May 22, 2013
    Last edited: May 23, 2013

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location:
    Texas
    #17
    A-bit of an update. Went ahead and put my "iTunes Media" folder on the NAS; iTunes Library database remains local on the Mac. All my iTunes purchased movies where imported into the "iTunes Media" folder, along with all my music. Placed all my non-DRM movies in the dsVideo "video" folder on the NAS, then imported (without copying) those movies into iTunes Library, so all non-DRM is accessible via iTunes or dsAudio. So far, seems to work wonderful, also setup two iTunes Library database on my local, one accesses the NAS, the other I will use when I want to take a movie offline (e.g. import with copy to local).

    Tried out the Synology iTunes Server; it will stream video to a full iTunes Client on my Mac(s), but is not accessible from my iPad or ATV3 clients (e.g. they only support "Home Sharing"). So, more or less useless for me, any Mac clients can just create a iTunes Library and import (w/o copy) the music/videos available on the NAS.

    Think this is going to work out nice; especially, when I get a rMBP which all this is in preparation for. No regrets getting the Synology; actually pretty impressed with the set up.
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2007
    #18
    Can you give me a few more details on this? I just got a DS213+ like yourself and trying to figure out how to treat my iTunes music and videos (mostly ripped). I'm moving my videos to the "video" folder created by the DS already. I'm a little confused/worried about the iTunes music itself. It's just as simple as moving the iTunes folder over to the DS's "music" folder is it??
     
  19. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #19

    Are you trying to AirPlay the videos out to Apple TV from the NAS? Unless they are in mp4 format, or else everything will be opened on GPlayer for me. And in this case, I will switch to AirPlay Mirroring and have my videos 'reflected' on TV.
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2011
    Location:
    Gothenburg/Sweden
    #20
    I am not aware of any home-consumer Synology NAS that are capable of transcoding.
    However, Video Station usually doesn't transcode h.264 videos, it just remuxes them to be playable on iOS devices, this doesn't requires lots of CPU-power.
    I can playback 1080p MKV on my DS412+ Synology NAS with this technique.
    However, the showstopper for me is that subtitles are slightly off sync (Synology is aware of this bug), and DTS audio support (which had to be transcoded previously) has recently been dropped without warning..
     
  21. Geckotek, Oct 19, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013

    macrumors G3

    Geckotek

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Location:
    NYC
    #21
    Ditto. Are there specific guides you've followed? I know in the past I've edited my .xml file or deleted some library.xxx file or something of that nature to get my iTunes library on my computer to notice the new file locations and retain all my metadata....but it's been a while and want to make sure I do this right.

    Edit: I should add that I have a Sonos on the way and would love for the Sonos to stream audio from the Synology.
     
  22. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #22
    Although I don't understand nearly as much of this thread as I would like, I can tell you that you should be fine with the Sonos.

    I just got Sonos. I created a username and password on my Synology (specifically for the Sonos - not sure if this is really required). I then plugged the username and password into the iPad app. Then, I had the Sonos app "read" the songs on the Synology. I'm sure that "read" is not the correct word there, but I don't know the terminology. The app doesn't pull the actual songs from the Syno, it just learns that the songs are there.

    Then, just direct the Sonos app to the Synology "source" and you are good to go. It's so easy that even I could do it. :)
     
  23. macrumors regular

    ianrip

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    work:QG MS, Home:LOS, From Scotland G15
    #23
    A similar topic I had an old NAS buffalo and it could connect to my TV using the DNLA via router & CAT 6 cable, my TV is a Samsung smart series, I have another in the bedroom and both could connect using the smart TV, I could view folders etc., it played most of the files I had got from online sources.

    I’ve just got an Synology DS 213+, and I’m ready to get it set up, I assume it will speak directly to the TV and no real need to use iTunes.

    I've always looked at the Apple TV and thought "do I really need one"

    I will need iTunes MAYBE for my iPhone & ipad, but I've read the Synology app's for IOS are quite good

    I've attached a basic drawing of the network, the BLUE lines are CAT 6 ethernet cables, and will replace the Buffalo NAS with Synology, I'll try and update how I get on
     

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  24. macrumors 601

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #24
    Look at the video this video along with the guy's follow writeup called Synology & iTunes.


     
  25. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    #25
    I've got a 411j, but honestly, while VideoStation does work to AirPlay Tunes-compatible content (which is how my library is stored) direct to the ATV without a device in the middle, once you get it rolling, I've really got to say that I'm underwhelmed with VideoStation itself in terms of it's metadata collection/use (why won't it just use the metadata already on my files rather than misidentifying 1/3 of my library?) and a UI that makes me nostalgic for the ATV's interface.
     

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